Great Games for Comparing Numbers – and Ordering Them Too!

Looking for some great games for comparing numbers? Just grab some dice. When kids roll and rearrange the digits, they can compare and order in a fun way.

Ms. Sneed Uses Games for Comparing Numbers

Ms. Sneed sat at the side table with her student teacher. “Today, we’ll continue our discussion of fourth grade math and plan the last part of our place value unit,” she said. “As I mentioned the last time we met, we’ll use games for comparing numbers.”

“Great!” Mr. Grow exclaimed. “What a fun way to end the unit.”

Begin Playing with Three or Four Digits

“As a matter of fact,” the mentor said, “let’s play a few rounds ourselves.”

She pulled a printed page from a stack beside her. Then she grabbed three dice and handed them to Mr. Grow.

“We’ll begin playing games for comparing numbers with just three digits. Go ahead, give it a try.”

The student teacher shook the dice and threw them onto the table. Picking up a pencil, he wrote them on the dice on the worksheet: 7, 3, and 9.

“Now I need to list four different numbers I can make with these digits. Okay. I’ll write 739, 793, 379, and 973. Of course, I could write 397 and 937, but there’s no room for them. Interesting, this part makes me think of another math concept: making an organized list.”

“Hey, you’re really beginning to think like a teacher!” Ms. Sneed said with a smile.

Ordering from Least to Greatest

Mr. Grow returned to the worksheet. “Next, I need to order the numbers I wrote from least to greatest. Not greatest to least. Sometimes I get in a hurry and mix those up.”

“The kids do too. Therefore, you might want to have them circle or highlight those words before they begin.”

“Good idea,” he said as he wrote 379, 739, 793, and 973.

Comparing Numbers

“Now I need to compare too of them with >, <, or =. Okay.” He wrote 973 > 379.

“For a minute, I had to think which symbol meant greater than. I guess that’s something else I should remind the students about.”

“Right!” Ms. Sneed responded. “Let’s stop there for now. As you can see, the kids will roll again and repeat the process. Then, at the bottom, they’ll tell the biggest and smallest numbers they can write with those digits.”

She slid another page to Mr. Grow. “The set also includes a game for four dice, but I think we’ll try something a bit more challenging.”

Games for comparing numbers use dice and begin with three or four digits.
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Continue Playing Games for Comparing Numbers with Five or Six Digits

Sliding two more worksheets to Mr. Grow, the mentor said, “Why don’t you continue with five or six dice?”

Smiling, the student teacher picked up six dice and rolled. “Hey, this feels a lot like Yahtzee. What happens if a student rolls doubles or triples?”

“I guess we can leave it up to them if they’re playing with more dice. However, when they’re only rolling three or four, I’d probably suggest they roll again.”

Mr. Grow happily continued working on the six-dice page.

“Do you notice how playing games for comparing numbers is more fun than work?” Ms. Sneed asked.

“Sure do! The kids will love this!”

For more advanced players, these games for comparing numbers extend to five or six dice.

No Dice? No Problem!

As Mr. Grow finished playing, he looked at Ms. Sneed. “We have 24 students in our math class. If each gets six dice, how many will we need? Do you even have that many dice?”

“No worries. The set of games for comparing numbers comes with a page of reproducible dice cards. We can use those – or let them roll in groups and complete the pages individually.”

No dice? No problem! These games for comparing numbers come with reproducible dice cards as well.

After the Fun and Games

Finally, Ms. Sneed pulled out a worksheet. “After playing games for comparing numbers, we can use this to make sure everyone is on track.”

After all the games for comparing numbers, kids complete traditional worksheets.

Enjoy Teaching Place Value

“And that’s a wrap,” Mr. Grow said. He looked at his lesson plans with a smile. “First, I will teach kids about the value of each digit in a number. With the help of Beyoncé, they’ll know that everything’s ten times in the place to the left. Second, we’ll work on reading big numbers out loud. Third, kids will write them in standard form and words. Then it’s on to expanded form. We’ll take it nice and easy on rounding – since it’s a tough topic. And finishing it up, the kids will use games for comparing numbers. I’m ready!”

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